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Consultation on plans for Maungawhau-Mt Eden

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL MEDIA RELEASE

5 November 2007

Public consultation on plans for Maungawhau-Mt Eden

Members of the public are invited to comment on Auckland City Council's plans for a visitor centre and alternative transport on Maungawhau-Mt Eden.

The proposals are a concrete first step in implementing the Maungawhau-Mt Eden management plan and aim to cater for visitors while protecting the integrity of the cone.

All residents have been sent information about the proposals with the council newspaper City Scene. This includes a feedback form asking for comments on plans to: * locate a visitor centre at Tahaki Reserve west, at the base of Maungawhau-Mt Eden * prohibit vehicles from the summit road and replace them with an alternative transport option of a lightweight electric vehicle * improve the summit area to make it more pedestrian friendly.

The council's group manager for Arts, Community and Recreation Policy, Ruth Stokes, says public feedback on the proposals will be important in future decision-making.

"Maungawhau-Mt Eden is an Auckland landmark and we need to do what we can to protect this cultural and geological treasure for future generations to enjoy," Ms Stokes says.

"The impact of vehicles is taking its toll and we need to act to limit the damage and erosion they cause. The noise and pollution of vehicles also affects the overall visitor experience.

"We see a light-weight electric vehicle as being a clean, effective and efficient way to address these issues, but we want to know what people think about this idea.

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"The plans for a visitor centre aim to give the public a greater understanding of the cultural and social history of the volcanic cones and pa sites of Auckland.

"This will make visiting Maungawhau-Mt Eden a truly memorable and unique experience, but again we'd like to hear the public's views on the matter."

Aucklanders are also invited to comment on plans to improve the summit area including removing the former telecommunications building, and replacing hand rails and benches.

The cost of building a visitor centre at Tahaki Reserve west is estimated to be between $6.8 and $8.7million, while a lightweight electric vehicle would cost approximately $3million to build and $1million to operate annually.

The council has not yet set aside a specific budget for these developments and cost will be one of the key drivers in future decision-making.

However, the council has a number of funding options available to it, including rates, raising debt, entering into a partnership with another organisation, and/or user charges for use of the facilities.

Ms Stokes says the council has also been conducting surveys and focus groups to assess public feeling about the proposals.

"I'd urge people to fill in the feedback form and let us know what they think. Their views will influence important decisions about a much-loved Auckland icon," she says.

People can find out more about the proposals by attending one of two information sessions. The sessions will take place at Langton's tea kiosk on Maungawhau-Mt Eden on the following dates: * 10 November between 11am and 2pm * 24 November between 11am and 2pm

Members of the public can also view a display at the Epsom Library at 195 Manukau Road or find out more and give feedback at www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/mteden

ENDS

© Scoop Media

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